Archive for August 2014


August 31, 2014

This closely follows the last post – so it will be shorter, again in two parts –  but take warning against the second part.   Spare yourself and don’t read it.

Part One:   Recrudescence is the rising again of something that has had a period of abatement.

In this case,  Hilaire  Belloc applied it to the rising again of Islam as a threat to the Western Christendom — even though when he lived,  Islam had long been weak and practically dormant;  people living in mountainous or desert areas of the Middle East,  working hard to keep themselves fed, charmingly and fondly described by Mark Twain in Innocents Abroad.

Here are Belloc’s words, written in the first part of the 2oth century:

[T]he recrudescence of Islam, the possibility of that terror under which we lived for centuries reappearing, and of our civilization again fighting for its life against what was its chief enemy for a thousand years, seems fantastic. Who in the Mohammedan world today can manufacture and maintain the complicated instruments of modern war? Where is the political machinery whereby the religion of Islam can play an equal part in the modern world?     . . .  I say the suggestion that Islam may re-arise sounds fantastic—but this is only because men are always powerfully affected by the immediate past:—one might say that they are blinded by it.    

This is the threat that he warns us about.

He goes on to discuss the apparent rejection of Christianity and observed the resultant  weakening moral force in our civilization:

Neo-Paganism grows prodigiously . . .  Paganism once erected into a system, once having taken on full shape, and proceeding to positive action, must necessarily become a formidable and increasingly direct opponent of the Catholic Church. The two cannot live together, for the points upon which they would agree are not the points which either thinks essential…. I have suggested that the threat of Paganism returning among the white races, and the strength of Paganism when it shall have returned, will be presumably enhanced by a sort of moral alliance between it and the exterior Paganism of the East, of Asia and not only of Asia, but, for that matter, of Africa too.

The recrudescence of Islam and the rise of neo-paganism are not unrelated.   Both excerpts are taken from Belloc’s book:  The Great Heresies.

End of the first part of this post.   Stop here.   

Because tomorrow (today?) is SUNDAY.   As Saturday was  Our Lady’s Day,  Sunday is Our Lord’s Day.   But it is only for the brave and the strong.   In order to live honorably through a Sunday, you must realize what had to happen in order to get to  Sunday.    What Christ had to go through.   And what Christ came to conquer.

Bar wavy

Part Two:

Yes, the enemies of Christ crucified Him,2,000 years ago;  it was us, all those who chose to oppose Him.   And the enemies of  Christ crucify today,  by the thousands, according to the news reports — and photos.

Hilaire Belloc knew who the enemy is,  knew who he was warning us about.

But they don’t always crucify:

Recrud  Baby girl

In Belloc’s words:   … our civilization again fighting for its life against what was its chief enemy for a thousand years.

This is what Christ came to conquer:  sin, evil, wickedness,  violence and murder;   oh, yes –  and cowardice and capitulation.


August 30, 2014

This is a post in two parts.  I give you fair warning:   Don’t read the second part, if you’d like to stay comfortable.     Please don’t.

The first part is this — We are probably going to need a few of these:


Yes, he’s a crusader, honored because of his role in saving Europe – and Western Civilization –  from a powerful approaching barbarous army.    We’ll actually need quite a few of them.

Any men out there to fill his shoes in this century?    Of course there are.    Enough men?

I don’t know.   If I were the enemy,  I’d spend a few years convincing the West that they need not be worried,  that if they’d just make nice,  everything will turn out well.     “If you wage peace,  you’ll get peace.”   (heh heh)     Perhaps enough would believe that – and then there wouldn’t be “enough men”  to resist.

SATURDAY  is Our Lady’s Day – in Christendom.    Western Civilization is inextricably linked with Christendom,  lose one, you lose both; and so I think of Our Lady today — and all those who were able to rise and fight for her and for the continued existence of Christendom.  Over and over again.   Every few centuries.

And now, again, in the early part of the 20th century,  there was one man who was paying attention;  one man who looked past the rise of Hitler’s national socialism, looked past the murderous dictatorship of t Marxist socialism, and saw the real threat to civilization.   His name is Hilaire Belloc, a well-respected literary figure of Great Britain, and he warned that in the latter years of the 20th century we would see the recrudescence of Islam which would prove to be an even greater threat than those two enemy-ideologies that caught our attention earlier last century.

220px-Hilaire_Belloc_Portrait     In this photo it looks like he’d make a good knight-crusader, ready to take up arms as the man of the statue above had to.         Educated at Oxford,  England;  honors in history;  master of the English language which suggests he thinks clearly and well.   Quite a sportsman too.

Belloc knows war, he’s a veteran of WWI.     This is no sissy living in his books,  making up theories and  principles about society which don’t work in the real world.    His writings prove him to be a good analyst of the challenges we face.


If you’re thinking about skipping church tomorrow,  this might be a good man to know –  and then think twice about chucking Christianity, avoiding the real hard issues we face.

And that’s all for part one of this post:  “Recrudescence; The Prequel.”       Stop here.

Unless you have a willingness to prepare,  mind, body, and spirit . . . .   Prepared to fight.

Bar wavy

Part Two begins:

Because the enemy is prepared, and they have a Map and a Method.

Here is there  Map – Phase One:

MAP  Caliphate

If you don’t know your history,  you will not understand.   If you do know history  (or are learning it)  you will recognize the territory that is being claimed.   Phase One.    More phases to follow.

By “rights”,  the whole world “belongs to”  the crescent moon god.

That was the Map;  here is the Method:


The Method is called by that T word…  I’ll not get the spider bots activated by spelling it out just yet.

The T word is a noun in the dictionary.   You don’t fight dictionary words;  you fight actual armies who do these kinds of things and have you on their To-Do-Next  list.

Why is there blood on their faces?     Because commonly  before the crucifixion the eyes are gouged out.

Recrudescence.  Let us understand that dictionary word.




August 28, 2014

The title of this post could have a question mark.    In preparation for our carpet installation I’ve been going through everything in my house,  every shelf,  every cabinet,  bookcase. . . .  and that’s my constant question:  What’s in here?     Oh!  What’s in here!!

SAMSUNGInside of this old cabinet I found three black rectangular boxes.   The one on the left contained my slide rule!!!   I found it, at last!!   Many happy memories with that slide rule.    I remember when Hubbie bought his first “calculator.”     It was very expensive, but he thought it was justified because he taught Accounting at the time.   I never liked a calculator.  I was much faster with pencil and paper  (or slide rule)  and Hubbie and I had some interesting “races”  with columns of figures.

I don’t know.  Maybe he never got the hang of using a calculator.   Ha!    When you do math with your hands  (pencil or slide rule)  you’re really, really doing the math, and the mind is far faster than trying to get electrons to jump into the proper place,  doing the math for you.

The black box in the middle is my piccolo.   That was kind of fun too.   Both of those boxes have been “lost” for a long, long time.

But the box on the right….   I don’t recognize it.    I don’t know what’s in it.   It has a little thing on the seam that I think is where you’d open it — if your fingers were strong enough.   I can’t get it to move.    Whatever is inside is well-protected.

Son will  do it next time he visits.

They say it’s a good idea to move to another home every  so many  years;  the interval varies.      The happy result of such moving is that you have the opportunity to become reacquainted with everything you own, and you are forced to select what to keep and what to throw out.     Sounds like the goal is to pare down your life to the bare minimum.

I think “thinning things out” is just a minor goal.

Much more significant is that when you have to move all your things,  whether to a new place or to the same place, as in my case,  what you will be doing is retrieving your past.  As Son told me recently,  “if you don’t remember some things,  they don’t exist for you anymore.”

When parts of you are disappearing from memory,  it’s not your belongings that are thinning out,  it’s you.


I came across one old box that contained all kinds of greeting cards, used and unused.   I’m normally not a,  uh,   “methodical”person, so I poured everything on the floor and began sorting them out, new cards to be sent,  old cards received.  I read every one of those cards.  I enjoyed every one of them – again.    I appreciated all my friends and the time they took to write something inside their card.   I’m glad I’ve saved these, because it’s like visiting again with good people.   My life is fuller.  I haven’t “lost” their kind words.

But there are other kinds of cards:

SAMSUNGThese are some of the sympathy cards that we received when Hubbie died.

Please know that the extra effort you take to write in someone’s card, in your own hand,  is felt by the bereaved, deep down in their hearts. And the cards are sometimes saved and read again, and your kind words give strength and support once again.

And it brings back hard memories —  of course.

Memories that you don’t want to lose.

“What lies within”  is sometimes a very, very important part of you.

It’s a big chore to move your stuff around,  but don’t try to remove too much of the “stuff.”



August 26, 2014

I invested a lot of time and money and attention and big hopes in my tomato garden this year,  and it looked like it was all worth it!


Those tomatoes tasted as good as they look!

Actually, my back deck tomato garden was a two-man job.  Son invested a lot of time and ingenuity into the tomato plants too.   He created a sprinkler system on a timer so that when I had to be traveling so much this summer,  the tomato plants would still get watered.

It was a Tomato Garden of Eden on my deck.    It looked all summer like a “paradise” of full lush vegetation, all promising to produce this fruit.

And then –  I had an overnight surprise:


At least it seemed like overnight –


I had noticed yesterday when I did my harvesting that the tomato plants looked thinner.    Well, it is late summer, I thought,  and the leaves on some of the trees are just beginning to turn color.

But as I learned and researched and inspected more closely —


— I saw the telltale signs of Late Blight.    Brownish-gray spots and a soggy, wilted brown leaf.    This is a destructive fungus, rapidly destroying tomato plants  (and other food crop from the nightshade family.)

So . . . Paradise Lost  (with apologies to John Milton)  –


“Paradise”  and a whole lot of tomatoes.   There is some discussion about whether tomatoes from these plants are safe to eat.    It is unanimous that one should not can these tomatoes,  but they may (or may not) be safe to eat — and if you want to eat them, you must make sure there are no discolored areas on the tomato,  because a weakened, diseased tomato has a higher pH  and is likely host to some very nasty bacteria.

I’ve often wondered about the Great Potato Famine in northern Europe and Ireland of the  mid-19th century.    The potato is also in the nightshade family,  like tomatoes.    I wondered about that Famine because it’s always said that the farmers  across Europe came out to their fields one day to find the Blight had infected all their crop.   Really?   That fast?



The fungus spreads into the food, making it turn black, just as the potatoes in the fields at the start of the Great Potato Famine were described.

Now,  you probably know,  if you visit here once in a while,  that I take history very, very seriously,  and I take my religion very seriously.   Although the Great Potato Famine was a horrendous historical event, and although it resulted in a great movement of legal immigrants into our country,  many of them hard-working,  religious,  and very glad to be in America,  and whose descendants have contributed greatly to this nation,  although we know all that —  do we know how and why  that Famine begin?

1846.     There are other historic facts concerning this Famine too, and it began in  northern France.***

1846 is when the warning was given.

la salette

It was given here in this beautiful countryside in northern France.  Two shepherd children came across a “beautiful lady”  who was weeping and had an aura of such great sadness about her that they asked her what was wrong.

. . . The end of the story is that she knew that a terrible judgment (punishment)  was about to fall on the people of northern Europe because they had stopped paying homage to God  (chiefly evidenced by treating Sundays as though they were just any other da; y and by swearing, bad language,  profanity,  and blasphemies using the holy name of God.)    When a population ceases to pay homage to God,  then the dam breaks, the floodgates are opened to disrespecting other human beings, manifested by selfishness,   violence, sexual immorality, and all other woes that we see in today’s world.

Two Great Commandments:   “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your mind and all your strength…”    And:     “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”       (That is, with self-respect,  dignity,  and your religion in place, then you will be able to rightly love and respect and cherish the person standing next to you.    We’re not told to “love humanity,”  but to love the person you see right next to you, in your home, your work, when you shop,  when you drive….)

Well, this message wasn’t exactly welcomed.    Or obeyed.

The Blight was already forming in the mid-19th century, and for the next five or six years life was very, very hard for most Europeans.   Millions  died.


In this present time,  every year,   many people remember this event, and the reason for it.     These are pilgrims,  not tourists.

I feel obliged to tell you that this Blight is still in existence, becoming more and more resistant to whatever we use to keep it at bay.

And scattered here and there, all over the news,  there are acknowledgements of other “natural”  disasters ready to strike:    crop failures,  plagues,  big earthquakes,  comet strikes. . . .     But no more ‘beautiful lady”   to bring us back to God.

I think she knows we will likely not listen.

Bar wavy

***    You can read more if you Google in search terms for La Salette, apparition,  prophecy.     The two young children consistently told the same story throughout their lives, even though they did not see each other as adults;  however, the girl  has possibly embellished her story in her later years, so the Church is cautious about some of the more lurid  prophecies which seem to speak of increasing immorality and wickedness in our times, right up to the top of the hierarchy of the Church.     Or maybe this was a true prophecy.   Just be cautious. 

4 OUT OF 5 COLORS . . .

August 25, 2014

Four out of five color samples that I took home . . .


. . . are identical to the color of the carpeting that I already have!


I did that with the green bedrooms.  I did that with the brown bedroom.   And I did that with the very light cream colored living room carpeting too.

I showed you the other colors before –


It’s not like I’m not trying!      But the samples I like best are the same colors that I already have down on the floors,  just, maybe,  a little cleaner and brighter.

Are we really so “stuck in our ways” ?    Are we really “afraid”  to change?   Or is it just that  after a few   —  (ahem)  quite a few  — decades of life that we finally begin to know what we like and  who we are.

I have plenty of time to ponder these colors.   As I’ve already written here,  before any of these lovely colors can be laid down in my house,  I have to move everything in my house.

It  is disconcerting.

Many physical items must be thrown away now.

I am looking at objects from my children’s school days.   I’m looking at paperwork hand-written by Hubbie.   I’m looking at letters, books,  pretty little objects that my Mom and Dad sent to me.    I’m looking at papers and paraphernalia from some of the most difficult, upsetting years of my life, before I had the age and experience to understand.   Some . . . “things” . . .  were good, though.     All living memories.

SAMSUNGMuch of my life is in my books.    Formal sets of classics on some shelves.    And then there are the many Working Bookshelves,  not so pretty:

SAMSUNGThat’s about the least “scary” of my Working Bookshelves.

But all my books will eventually end up here –


On the floor.   Dusted off.   Assessed.   Some are easy to say good-bye to,  but some are impossible to say good-bye to.   As I said,  it is disconcerting to confront all your belongings,  I think because you’ve put yourself into all these things.  So who am I now?    What’s left of me?

Skeleton  Reading    I’m not very strict with myself.     I’m not carving off too much of myself,  even though that means I will be cleaning-assessing, moving-reshelving countless books.   I like them all.  I chose them all.

I will probably never be able to read and reread all of them in my lifetime.    I’ll run out of time before I run out of books,  but they  are all there as friends, for my reference and support.

The books and the objects I will keep are the ones that characterize me –   who I am and what I think  about.   I’ve come to know myself through these books.    Moving all these books might be an almost overwhelming task,  but, you know —

“Four out of five”  books  are the ones I would choose again!





August 24, 2014

(Taking a break – for Sunday.)

I’ll start and end with this statement:  A man cannot become God, but God can take on human nature, if He so chooses.

night  beth

And so we have in the age-old Mass a point where utter silence begins.   It’s a powerful reminder of the fact that nine months after God took on human nature, He was born  into this world — in the still, deep quiet of midnight.  “…in the quiet of silence and while the night was in the midst of her course the almighty Word came down from his royal throne…”  (The Bible, Wisdom 18:14,15)

The  Mass continues on in holy and almost unearthly silence, accompanied by our heartbeats and our awe.

Reverence and adoration well up in our spirits as we prepare to commune with this God-Become-Man.

Night mass

Can you tell Him He can’t do that?   Can you put limits on what He wants to do?   Can we understand that  this is something He wanted to do — and if He lived in Time, we could say He  eagerly anticipated doing?

And then after this first Silent Night, a few years later,  although His divinity and power burst forth  during times of healing and miracles, during the Transfiguration,  yet He concealed all traces of  His divinity, on His  Cross.

A  little later,  and  ten years later,  and centuries later,  nearly twenty centuries later, during every Mass He conceals even His humanity from us.

It has to be an act of faith and more importantly an act of our free will to commune with our temporarily hidden God.    Only the  God of Creation, of Abraham, of  Moses,  who took on human nature loves so powerfully and intensely and calls us to commune with Himself.

We are so small, and He is so powerful.    Could we put a limit on what God can do?

 A man could never become God,  but God can become like us . . . to reveal Himself to us.


August 21, 2014

If you’ve been visiting here for a week or so, you’ll know I’m in the throes of a big home improvement project.     Carpeting is coming and everything in my house has to be moved.  Everything.

Some things will not be replaced,  such as old, old, embarrassingly awful useless furniture pieces that are too heavy and ugly for continued existence.      Did I say that clearly enough?   I had a big clunky end table type thing that did not even have value as a  garage sale item.   I mentioned to Son, who was here today,  that this old table is good for nothing;  it ought to be chopped to pieces.

And then Son disappeared.

SAMSUNGA couple minutes later, it seemed,  I found him on my driveway  — with  what was left of that big old ugly heavy end table.

Good thing  I said what I meant.

You see,  I wasn’t quite aware that I meant what I had said.  I’ve had to make too many decisions this week:  what to save, what to throw away,  where to put this or that, how to make more room to put the contents of five rooms that will be carpeted…. too many decisions!   And that old table?

“Yeah,  probably…. should be…. you know … we should … probably … just …. chop it up.”

SAMSUNGAnd before my tired decision-making brain knew it had made a decision —  there were the pieces filling the back of Son’s GTO,  ready to go to a waiting fire pit.

Because –  “Words mean things.”      “Words have consequences.”

Oh, these were good consequences,  and I really did say what I meant — “chop up that table!” —

I’ve been writing this week about the Bears and the Bees.   The Bears really do exist,  whether they are just lurking, developing problems, whether they are dangers,   whether they are just little issues.   Such things really do objectively exist, and we’d better be careful how we are talking about objective reality,  because clever talk,  loud talk,  ideological talk,  agenda driven talk,  sophistry, and deceitful conversation will not take care of the “bear.”

And at the end of my post on the Bees,  the ground bees I’m dealing with,  I said that we have to admit that not everything is going to work out okay for us.  We have to “push back and keep the world safe for us —   ”


There goes the table top.

I had been thinking about that table, fondly;  it was a great place to put house plants on and not worry about spilling water;  it was a great place to store oversized books;  it was a great place to spread out stacks of music by my piano.

But the truth is,  what I really meant,  is that:  it was an  “old, old, embarrassingly awful useless  piece of  furniture.”

Everyday things of life should help us think about the bigger things of life.    If we live with integrity and truth,  then our local situation will aid our thinking about national and global issues.    


Shootings?   Beheadings?   Women and children buried alive or cut in half?  Ebola spreading out of control in Africa?  Celebrity race baiters agitating the mobs?   Government policy  creating ruinous economic conditions?   Medical care now increasingly unaffordable or unavailable?   Global persecution of Christians?   Slavery flourishing around the world?     High school (and college)  graduates who cannot read, understand, or analyze the written word?   102,000,000 adults in this country not working,  producing, or contributing anything yet receiving a living “wage” anyway?    Direct, deliberate, blatant threats from the Islamic world to the Western world?   (Sorry, Nero.  They are not “junior varsity.”)  An entire civilization disintegrating into gross immorality, at great financial and social cost,  enfeebling us all?      A growing spirit of Lawlesssness?   Indifference,  defiance, or contempt directed at our own Creator?

Let’s identify the bears around us.   Let’s face the ground bees.     Pick your issue.    If you see an” old, old, embarrassingly awful useless piece of furniture,”    lay aside sentimentality and fond familiarity — and say what you mean!

I think I must have today.




August 19, 2014

Bear.  The unexpected menace lurking, ready to pounce when you least expect it.     Today my “bear”  are a lot smaller, but just as unexpected and potentially quite painful.

Getting “down to earth”  in The Spruce Tunnel today – literally.


Meet the ground bee.  Wasp.   Yellow jacket.   Whatever you call them,  they sting the same way —  and they are eradicated the same way.


I have quite a colony this summer.   A whole apartment complex.     In addition to being harmful  to people, they can do quite a bit of damage to your lawn.     I’ve been on many forums, so I’m getting to be familiar with the different methods of dealing with these things.

Sometimes they are not easy to see as you walk across your grass:


This is a close-up.    It would have been easy  to overlook.

They hunt around, choose a spot,  and swirl the grass around to get to the dirt.


And then they begin removing the dirt.


If they want to stay with this location, they would create a hole that looks just like a broom handle had been inserted to make  an opening with clean, round edges.   They like to live in old  mole tunnels,  and when they tap into a big one, they keep enlarging until your lawn looks pretty ugly.   I hate to think of how many live under those big ones.

One summer day,  my neighbor came over to borrow some raisins.  She was a sweet little  grandmother from Iran.  I couldn’t speak Farsi and she couldn’t speak English, but we had many nice visits together.    Right after I gave her the raisins,  Hubbie and I had to leave for our weekend trip,  but when I returned,  I was horrified to hear that my friend had walked back to her house across our lawn –  and had stepped right onto a ground bee nest.    She had to be taken to the hospital…..  Ay yi yi.

There are people on the bee forums that talk  about “not killing”  these bees because they “eat locusts”  or something;  they are a part of the “ecology.”      Well.    We live in a fallen world,  a world after our Fall from grace,  and not all “natural” creatures work in harmony with each other anymore.    I will leave it to Christ our King to return and restore this world to the way it should be.   He can take care of all the bees.  And spiders.   And parasites.    And vermin.

Meanwhile, we push back and keep the world safe for us to live in.





August 19, 2014

bear seeing you  One of the bears menacing us (right now, here in this country, every day) is what has been called The Spirit of Lawlessness or  The Spirit of Anomia.  

Anomia:   a Greek word which can be translated into simple English as “lawlessness.”


When the Spirit of Lawlessness prevails,  there is a heavy price to pay, a heavy burden, as though we’ve put on ourselves a harsh yoke of turmoil, uncertainty, economic and personal loss, fear, and pain, and the uneasy certainty of consequences.


Every act of lawlessness, whether small or large,  significant or seemingly  insignificant,  from the most public to the most private,   contributes to this spirit until it seems like it is natural to breathe such heavy, contaminated air.    But  we need not choose to be under this yoke.

We have laws, and our laws are not “broken.”   The leaders are not enforcing the laws and the people are not following the laws.

We don’t need new laws or updated laws or broader laws.   Our leaders are not applying the laws we have, and we, as a people,  don’t seem to mind that they don’t – when it comes to our personal advantage.

But that’s the issue:     this country was founded deliberately upon the principle of Equality of All Citizens Before the Law.   Our Founders wrote good laws, good guidance for making laws as needed,  and then intended that the laws apply to everyone,  whether public officials or private citizens.

Obeying the law is matter of public ethics and personal, private morality.     A sense of lawfulness and order produces the “peace and justice”  that we expect from a civil society.

So why discuss this on a Tuesday’s Tribute?   If the Spirit of Lawlessness prevails,  society breaks down with all its order and safety.   There is no hope for peace or prosperity.


And then who benefits?   

Once the society is thoroughly broken down,  then the society can be “transformed”  according to a new agenda — someone else’s.   If we can be convinced that America is not good and worthy of protection there are those who will step in to provide their values for us.  If we are lawless ourselves, allowing ourselves to live without law, logic, reason, or religious guidance,   then surely our elections will exhibit this Spirit of Lawlessness and we will be ruled by lawless leaders on behalf of the Lawless One.

It’s easy if they don’t have to obey our laws.  So easy.  As we heard the menacing words of the frustrated person that our Rulers placed into our whit  e  how se:  “I have a phone and a pen.”

If we act lawlessly, publicly and privately, then we invite someone else’s  values to rule over us.

yoke black

Tuesday’s Tribute:   Hat’s off to the cleverness of our Rulers in distracting us from the burden of their yoke.


We’ve been cautioned against this lawlessness for quite some time.  (II Thessalonians 2:7)

There is some small comfort for me to learn that this dangerous sense of lawless entitlement to do whatever we want has been described well in writings from 1600-1610, approximately.  (Our Lady of Good Success –   “Success,”  as in coming through difficult, dangerous, painful times like childbirth,  with only God as your companion)

 And then again a few other times, until the 19th century when there were more frequent warnings about this lawless immorality which would occur at the end of our Age.  By the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century the warnings became urgent and dire,  accompanied by a doleful attitude, almost as though the consequences of lawlessness were to be,  for us, inevitable.

Dove of Peace outline

God is merciful and patient — until it is time to not be so anymore.



August 19, 2014

The bear has always been a symbol for me.


That’s a photo from my cell phone of a picture that was in a newspaper at the place where I took my recent road trip.   The “Culinary” one.    I wasn’t on the menu!    I sometimes called that trip my Necessary Trip because I had to attend a dinner – wasn’t sure I wanted to, but it was the right thing to do.   This bear photo was taken two weeks before  and two miles from that dinner.

And a few miles from where I lived as a teenager for a few years.    I grew up in the beautiful city of Chicago….and then my Dad moved us out into the wilderness of the Far Far North,  my whole world changed,  and these things were in our back yard.      My grandma would take me with her to pick blueberries.  She always knew where the best wild blueberries grew, but we never strayed out of sight of her car –  because of the bear.

You  can’t always see when bear are near.

bear can't always see


But out in the wild,  out in the world,  the bear are looking at you, watching.

bear seeing you

Bear are unpredictable.   They say they’ll leave you alone if you leave them alone,  but I’ve seen some pretty gruesome photos of people who hadn’t been left alone by bear.    If you’re unaware of danger,  you can fall into danger.   If you don’t take appropriate measures in the face of danger,  then that danger,  be it bear or other enemy forces,  then the danger will soon be “in your face.”


bear talking to you

This is why the bear are such a powerful symbol to me of danger, lurking, lying in wait.   They are never so near as when you’re not expecting them.

When I returned home from my trip I saw many “bear” –  the other kind of bear, all over in the newspapers and on the television.   I’ve never seen so many dangerous problems that are not being confronted adequately.     Dangerous consequences have risen up and become stronger –

Bear snarl

This is a message  of analysis, not of solutions,  but I think the following two points may indicate the solution – solutions of proven, historic value.

The first point is that the friends I met who live, now, near that bear in the top photo really have something more serious to worry about.   As unbelievable as it seems,  there are “foreigners”  who  have introduced into their back yards, onto their property, even more vicious animals who actually hunt humans as prey.     These animals are wolves.   The settlers worked hard to rid the area of these predators and create a safe place for people to live.   Now there are so many wolves once again that my friends cannot ride bikes or hike for any distance from their home.  One woman says they cannot go cross country skiing very far in their own back yard.  She said,  “I never go out alone without a pistol.”   That surprised me very much.

 To deny danger when there really is danger is an act of eventual suicide.       Certain people are telling us that wolves are good.   Wolves are not dangerous.   “If you leave them alone,  they’ll leave you alone.”

The second point is this:    Leaders come forth from  out of the society which they lead.     If there are dangers lurking within our society and snarling ever closer at us from without,  then we need to be the kind of people who are strong,  have a firm sense of identity,  and who have moral certitude.

We must be confident that “strong” does not mean bad;  it means capable.   Capable of doing good, if we desire it,  capable of protecting ourselves and our own families, if we are courageous.

A firm sense of identity helps us understand others, who also have a right to their own unique identity.      Knowing our own identity, knowing our  past, our qualities and characteristics doesn’t  make us “haters,”  but rather makes us appreciate our uniqueness and value the uniqueness of others.   We are worth saving and protecting!

And moral certitude comes from humbly discovering our Creator and the way He set up this world, always measuring ourselves to His expectations.    Serving God never means harming others,  but rather living in His love,  according to His guidance, and  cherishing likewise ourselves and others.

A long time ago a wise prophet declared that if we act like immature, selfish children, we will get leaders who are unprepared for their job, floundering around in their inexperience and unwillingness to do the hard work of leading a nation.     If we act immorally and give in to inappropriate passions,  our leaders will be more interested in satisfying their own passion for power and pleasure.     If we keep wanting to indulge ourselves,  our leaders will be the kind who indulge themselves – at our expense.  If we live lives of ease and weakness,  our leaders themselves will lack courage.   (That wise man was Isaiah in his first few chapters.)

So, I see a world in trouble.   I see a world with dangers stalking us from every corner of the woods.    I see children at play,  picking wild blueberries, unaware of the danger they are in.

Bear Trees a Man

The bear seems like an appropriate symbol.







August 17, 2014

There used to be a popular television game show called Truth or Consequences.  If a contestant was caught telling an “untruth,”  there would be consequences for him, usually funny ones.    The show “worked” because society understood that consequences are real, not just a product of an “unjust society.”

After all my travels, I came home to quite a lively news cycle:  wars and unrest, plagues, and natural disasters all over.


There was an unusual amount of rain dumped on various locations as a storm front crossed several states.   When it came over Detroit, the heavy rains produced up to six inches of rain in a very short time, flooding all major roads and interstates that went through Detroit, because the drainage system was old and overwhelmed. 

At least that’s what we were told at first.

As the days went on, a very small follow-up was reported.  Yes, it was a lot of rain in a short time.   Yes,  the drains were overwhelmed.   But the root cause of the flooding turned out to be plain old-fashioned human sin.


Sin, as in Thou Shalt Not Steal and people steal anyway.    These sinners,  these thieves, are called “scrappers” because they steal metal out of things we need, like street lights,  power lines,  transformers,  air conditioners — and in this case,  out of the pumping stations that would have cleared the water from Detroit streets and avoided much of the flood damage.

Sure, we have laws against stealing.  Sometimes the thieves are caught.  Sometimes they are even prosecuted and occasionally punished.   But laws will not stop the thieving because taking something that isn’t yours – or even wanting to do it and planning how to do it (Thou Shalt Not Covet) –  is not a matter of law, it’s a matter of the character of a man’s soul.

Civil law will not protect society (or us who live in society). 

I thought about this during the sermon this morning.  


The sermon was about the familiar story of the man who was telling God how good he had been and  how he had avoided doing bad things;  he knew how to be a pretty good person.   Jesus, who was there watching this, also pointed out that there was another man, over there in the corner, who seemed aware of his shortcomings and who kept beating his breast and saying quietly:  “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”

Somehow the first man had lost sight of the reality of sin, but the second man understood it very well.

The sermon proceeded on to humility.   It takes a humble man to confront his shortcomings, and to acknowledge his sins and faults before God.   It would take a humble society, person by person, to acknowledge that sin is at the root of our difficulties.

The truth is, if we don’t address this root cause,  there will be consequences to pay.   The whole “game” was set up this way by the Game Master.   There is no other “game.”




August 16, 2014

Well, I guess that’s the “royal” we in “why we travel.”       Here is why I travel:    Because I enjoy exercising my sense of humor!    As I’ve written before,  I love hyperbole, irony, and absurdity.   They always surprise me when I come across them, as I did one day in the Far Far North.

I was walking down the main street of Marquette, acting like a tourist with lots of time  and no particular plan.   That’s when I saw this sign in front of a really nice jewelry store, diamond rings and things:


As many of you know,  I’m a sucker for dinosaur-anything!    I’ve walked alone in the high desert out West for hours amongst the dinosaur fossils, and I’ve seen dinosaur eggs up close and personal.   So here was an invitation to walk among the dinosaur eggs again — in a jewelry store, absurdly.

And the jewelry store poster was also announcing a tour of its gold mine.     Inside!


There was just a small display of dinosaur eggs.  Not too much information as to whose, and where and when.     But as I turned around —

SAMSUNGThere was the gold mine entrance!   How inviting is that!   

When I walked inside,  I had entered what looked and felt and sounded like a cave.  It  seemed like mining tunnels, cut into rock.  Part of me knew I was still inside a jewelry store,  but the fun part of me went exploring.


There were displays of “gold” bricks — or maybe it was gold bricks.     Gold jewelry and gold coins.   Or maybe that was “gold” . . . .     And then there was this sample of Fool’s Gold,     You know:  iron pyrite that looks like gold;  it’s fooled even experienced miners in the past.   We kids in Illinois would find it stuck to the crushed rock that was used for landscaping,  but it was pretty common and not so special back then.

There was a display of the phenomena called luminescence:

SAMSUNGYou could play with the black light settings.    Which I did.

And there were genuine authentic artifacts and equipment and tools used by actual miners:

SAMSUNGI enjoyed the “realism”  it added to the tunnels.   Men really, really worked in deep tunnels with this equipment.   Men in my family being among them, although they were mining iron ore, not gold.   Still,  I enjoyed the attempt at realism.  

Maybe too much  “realism”  as I rounded a corner and nearly bumped into this man —


Yep.  That’s a miner, looking at me.   I had to remember I was still inside a  “jewelry store.”     I’m real, not him!!   How fun!

I bought a few souvenirs and trinkets,  mostly of the mineral variety.      Here is some calcite:


When the lady behind the jewelry counter took my money, gave me my receipt, she went over to a little treasure chest on the other side of the counter, and then, putting a handful of something in my bag,  said,  “Here is a little surprise for you to remember your visit here.”     That was nice to have a surprise waiting for me.

But a little kid – a lot smaller than me –  said,  ” I know what those are!   Those are  gold coins that are really chocolate candy!”   Well, there went my surprise.   But I’m an adult, after all.    What I did, though,  was remember the pleasure “gold coins that are really chocolate candy”  gave me when I was a child.  

It’s kids – and remembering what it feels like to be a kid – that made this such a fun gold mine in a jewelry store!

And that’s why I travel,  for the surprising fun of it all.

I wish for all of you Many Miles of  Fun Surprises too.




August 14, 2014

It had to come eventually  —

K Lake good-bye

—   a  Good-bye to the beautiful blue waters of “Gitchi Gummi, by the shining Big-Sea Water” – or, as we know it today,  Lake Superior.   Au revoir:  I’ll be back again some day.   Two blog posts ago I wrote about walking right out into these blue waters.   Lake Superior has a way of grabbing on to a piece of you, and keeping it forever in her heart.

 I wanted to take something healthy with me on my long trip home.  While I’d be busy driving all day,  my body could be busy digesting some good nutrients.    I stopped here:

K Temaki outside

The sign says:

K Temaki Tea signTemaki & Tea.  But then so it wouldn’t sound too foreign, they added a “Smoothie King” franchise sign.   This was the place everyone told me about, the place that makes the best smoothies.

When you first walk in,  it doesn’t look much like a Japanese Tea House.  Maybe that’s because it’s right across the street from Northern Michigan University’s campus.  Tea houses are fun,  but when you’re a student,  there’s scarcely any time for that kind of fun.

Indeed,  upon walking in, the customer is presented with a fast-food type of menu:

K Menu offering

That was the style, but the contents of the menu were quite interesting.   Delicious salad combinations with fresh ingredients like I would use at home.   Although  I had come in for just a smoothie, I ordered a salad too.

K fruit smooth sign

And then a smoothie.  I chose the Carrot Kale, and I really made the right choice.  It tasted neither like kale nor like carrot, but a smooth blend of something mellow and pleasing.  It’s what you’d want your “nutrition”  to taste like!

As I waited for them to prepare my order,  I walked around, looking for a place to sit down.   There were tables and chairs, but also this inviting place, complete with fireplace:

K lounging area

Winters get very cold near Lake Superior.  I think I’d like to come back and try this out some winter.

As I continued wandering around,  much to my surprise, I found this area: 

K Japanese style

What a pleasant little surprise!    It really is a “Japanese Tea House” if you want it to be.   Unfortunately,  I wanted to head home,  I had no time for ceremony.

How was the food?    Very, very good.  The smoothie stayed surprisingly  icy for a couple  hundred miles.   That was nice because the sun was hot that day.   The salad was satisfyingly natural tasting with big chunky bits of things.  I eventually stopped using the small plastic fork and just reached in with my non-driving hand every once in a while for another bite.

Except — always keep in mind what you’ve ordered!   I finally reached into the salad deep enough and my fingers went into something very wet and pasty.  And very messy.   And light green.    I forgot there was going to be avocado in the salad;  and it was there,  several layers down,   nice and ripe and delicious.

Oh, well,  as I said,  I didn’t have time for “ceremony.”

I knew I had just one more quick stop on my way home. . . . a Jewelry Store Mine!



August 13, 2014

Still moving books and bookshelves and computers and hundreds of assorted smaller objects and got myself overtired again — but I couldn’t sleep because the date is bothering me.  It’s a serious one and the “teacher” in me wants you to know.

On this date in 1917   thousands of people didn’t know that they had only about eight more weeks to live.

1917 russia

Yes, those are “police” firing on citizens, killing many of them.   It was the beginning of the October Revolution in Russia, and many tens of thousands of people, hundreds of thousands and eventually millions of people did not know that this takeover by the socialists, this October Revolution,  was their death sentence too.

But it hadn’t begun quite yet on August 13th of 1917.   Something else was happening on that date in Portugal, and it would soon be apparent that the two events were connected.

 On this day, about 97 years ago,  three young children were kidnapped by their (masonic/socialist/revolutionary/republican/progressive) mayor who ruled over the area where the children lived. 

The children were Catholic.   On the 13th day of successive months in 1917 they were chosen to deliver messages and warnings to the people of earth;   and the mayor,  who hated all religion, took the children,  put them in the town jail with other adult prisoners,  told them to change their stories or else they would be boiled in oil until they were dead.

August 13, 1917.  One by one the children were separated from each other and told that their cousins, for that’s what they were to each  other, had been boiled and were now dead.   “Now it’s your turn.”

The children weren’t lying and they didn’t change their stories and two days later they were let go.  No criminal charges against the mayor and his office, of course.  

The connection with Russia?    Well, the overall messages were warnings that if mankind didn’t change their immoral ways,  repent,  turn back to God,  then horrible, terrifying judgments were being prepared for the planet and the humans who live here, and  somehow, in ways that were not understood then,  Russia was to play a key role.

If mankind remained sinful and immoral,  great “errors” would begin in Russia and then  these errors would spread slowly but surely to the rest of the world.   Death and devastation would follow.  If mankind still did not come to its senses,  these “errors” would spread all the way to the “top” – to the Vatican –   and millions more souls would be lost as the new socialist orientation would infect the Church itself.

August 13, 1917.     Kidnapping and intimidation of children….and an approaching death sentence to the people of Russia –  and, so far, an unheeded warning to all of us.




August 13, 2014

Consider this a Fairy Tale;  a work of Fiction, but it will be a  brief interruption in my Road Trip – for a Tribute to Tuesdays  (11-06-12 among others).

I have a busy life — or maybe it’s just a busy mind. SAMSUNG

 Tuesday’s Tribute to our Triumphant Rulers is one day late this time because I’ve been busy moving books,  because I have a lot of bookshelves to move,  because some of those color samples will be on my floors within about six weeks,  because the current carpeting is more than forty years old –  yuck – and because, with Hubbie gone now,  I’m learning about house maintenance.

How much time does it take to  move a couple  dozen bookshelves and their occupants?    I’ll try to save enough time and energy to end that Road Trip in tonight’s posting.   Nevertheless,  there is an interesting and rather important Tribute to make:

Caesars statueYou probably recognize that as a photo of a statue of Augustus Caesar.  We don’t call them caesars anymore;  nor tsars;  nor even kings.    In fact,  the Committee of 300 that rules us  (taking orders themselves from the globalists who rule them)   still place a figurehead in the highest seats of the various nations and then let the nations call them what they want:  prime minister,   president, “Our Dear Leader,”   whatever.    

Know your history – or else! 

 Caesars bust  I’m sure you’ll remember these various terms from your high school history books:   autocrat,  plutocracy,  oligarchy,  democracy . . .   let’s see, dictator . . . .   Because if you  don’t know these kinds of terms you will not recognize them when they’re staring you in the face  — or controlling you.

 Know your history – or else!  (Yes,  that’s a threat,  but not from me.)

So,  from today’s news,   a “revelation”   that we are not exactly in charge of. . . anything.

Minuscle,  near-zero

I was alerted to a recent study through the Breitbart news service which has  links to stories around the world.  

A startling new political science study concludes that corporate interests and mega wealthy individuals control U.S. policy to such a degree that “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”

The statistical research looked at public attitudes on nearly 1,800 policy issues and determined that government almost always ignores the opinions of average citizens and adopts the policy preferences of monied business interests when shaping the contours of U.S. laws.    (Link to article)

( I apologize for the annoying pop-up and/or pop-up video if you click on any of the links in  this posting today, but they seem to be harmless and are only one click away from doing away with them.)

  “The Hill” is a Washington DC fairly liberal observer-type Website (and newspaper)  but they are reporting this same “revelation” too.  “The Hill” article ends with these two sentences:

This study should be a loud wake-up call to the vast majority of Americans who are bypassed by their government. To reclaim the promise of American democracy, ordinary citizens must act positively to change the relationship between the people and our government.   ( again, a link to article)


And that is just why those who hold the highest office in our land can break our laws and defy our Constitution and ignore written policies  without any fear of reprisal.     We are “bypassed.”  They are the free ones.

Need an example?   You can find one or two or three new examples every day if you read independent or foreign news about what’s going on in America.  Today’s example is about the  Empire State Building and its owners.  They have a policy that they will not light up the tower in support of political figures and campaigns.   Except, now, the City wants the Democratic National Convention to be in New York –   so — forget that policy.   

According to CNS news service,  they have just announced that they will soon  light up the top of their skyscraper in the color Blue — for two days! — in honor of the Democratic National Convention selection committee.    Honor the Democrats, they will come to town.        (Link to article)  

It is the Spirit of Lawlessness that the Bible teaches us about.   This isn’t totally about Democrats, though.   Even the Democrats are beginning to notice that  our Rulers don’t pay attention to them either.   They are increasingly vocally angry that the man that was put into our wh it e  how se  has repeatedly “ignored their advice    (you know,  “Advise and Consent”?  the duty of the Congress?)    on what do to in Iraq,  for instance,  and now, Democrat leaders say,  as a consequence,  ISIS is beheading people in Iraq.   (And I could add beating, stoning,  cutting children in halves,  gouging  out eyes,  and crucifying people.   Beheading sounds like the easy way out compared to these tortures.)

 But the point is even the Democrats who thought their votes counted are beginning to realize that they don’t count for much at all.   

Who can help?
There are more people receiving their  living from the State than there are Americans working for their  own living.  Would the slightly more than half of American non-workers who are dependent upon the State be willing to take “positive action”  (as stated in the article above)?   Any action?

But what would “acting positively”  actually look like?

Hats off to our Rulers.   They’ve conquered our country.   Please.     I’m so sorry to those in the Middle East who have looked to us for  leadership, and for help, to help defend you against the forces of murderous evil which are prevailing in the world.      I think the Rulers have other ideas.

We too are a conquered people.     So far.     I love my country so much,  but I think  this is a time to remember who’s who and what should be what.

And now I have more books to move. . . .




(Apologies for frequent “updates.”   WordPress seems to have a new format in which I can’t see the changes I’m making as I write.  I’ll learn soon.)


August 11, 2014

“Take time for a little sightseeing trip with me.”

Not much of a “culinary”  road trip if you’re expecting a lot of food.  Turns out I wasn’t hungry enough to visit all the restaurants I had planned to see, there’s only one more to show you,  but I found some other kinds of very nice feasting too:

And so here are the beautiful blue waters I promised you in the last posting.

Blue.    The color for our souls.    Heaven.   The Mantel of Mary, surrounding us.


I walked way out in the “beautiful blue waters”  to see these colorful cliffs.


They were a feast for the eyes.   All the colors,  the many blues,  the brownish reds of the cliffs, and all the greens.

In order to get out to the blue waters, you have to drive down an interesting road – one edged with huge rocks from the bottom of the Lake.
I rocky way Presq Isle rocks I parked the car, got out to take this photo of the  road I was on.    The rocks are put there to keep the road in place when strong icy winds blowing off of Lake Superior smash huge waves against the shoreline,   rearranging man’s best efforts, obliterating the roads in the winter storms.      But this road is needed,  so the rocks are there to protect it.

The road leads us to an important industrial structure.   Literally,  keeping our American industry going in its small way.  It’s an iron ore chute,  one edge leading from the iron ore trains, the other edge leading to the iron ore docks, and eventually the  ore boats.

I  Ore Chute over road

Here is a boat “at work.”   It’s steaming and smoking and ready to go as soon as it’s loaded.


I did write at the beginning here that I  “walked way out in the beautiful waters.”   Here’s how you get to do that:

I Presq stairway to

No vertigo allowed!!!

Those stairs lead to a breakwater,  just inviting people to get out “into the “Lake.”    It’s from way out on the breakwater that I took those photos of the cliffs.
Along the way you can see down into the clear waters the  giant stones, smoothed by countless years of polishing by forces of water deep in the Lake.

I subsurface rocks

It looks like you can reach down and touch those smooth stones,  but the water is anywhere from  6 – 12 feet deep right there.

The water was pretty tranquil that day.   Some disturbance had produced interesting, almost “liquid”  waves.  Well,  you know . . .  waves are not “water”  but “disturbances, and usually a lot more sharp-looking than these.

I  Presq Beautiful Disturbance

They  were fascinating.  I looked far out into the Lake but couldn’t tell what had produced these.   I took so many photos of these waves but, well, they all look pretty much the same.

This object sent a rather whimsical thought into my head:I Presq screw

Along the breakwater there are these “screws.”   The breakwater is held in place by screws?   Well,  a guy might call them … bolts?   Lugnuts?   Pins?     Nice to know the breakwater is not going anyplace,  but if you keep watching the water,  it’s easy to trip over these things and land right in the water!     This screw-thing was at the end of the easy part of the breakwater.


Here is the end of the breakwater with a tiny little lighthouse at the very end.    The rocks are just stacked together (no screws to hold them!)  and you can see way down,  8, 10, 12 feet into where the water starts.   I’ve been on these rocks many, many times.  They’re a lot of fun to climb, and it feels like an accomplishment to get to that little lighthouse.

But I had one more “eating place”  on my itinerary – and this was the day I could end my trip and start the long drive  from this Far Far North to my home in the Far North.


The Long Road Home begins here.



August 9, 2014

Well,  my road trip eventually included a Sunday.    And based on my experience in the Far Far North that day,  this will be a beautiful but sad posting.

It starts with  a parking lot!

SAMSUNGI “had to”  park  alongside beautiful Lake Superior.    It was a bit of gray day just then, so the Lake seems less blue than my car, but usually it’s the other way around.   (I’ll show you that in the next posting!)     So, this Sunday started with a parking lot, but it continued with the nearby cathedral.

I love cathedrals!


I love the size and the beauty and the art work and all the soul-enriching things that I’m not wealthy enough to surround myself with.    This cathedral is made for everyone to enjoy in all its immense-ness.

SAMSUNG This is the home of the very brave and hard-working, holy man we know as Bishop Baraga.    He walked all over this territory in the Far Far North,  bringing the knowledge of Christ to the Native tribes who lived up here.    Many were receptive to the Faith and freely entered the Church.    I personally know some of their descendants today.   Those that have kept themselves inside the Church have become well-educated, self-sufficient, decent citizens, who love their families and work for their communities, both in their professions and in their personal time.

Other  descendants of these first Catholics have left the Faith.   Many are wards of the State… we support them with our tax dollars.    I wish they knew who Bishop Baraga was.

There is a sign on the side of the cathedral building, telling us a little about the good bishop.


And there is a statue of him on another side.


It’s tempting to just walk by,  thoughtlessly.

Around the back of the cathedral I noticed a little chapel dedicated to Bishop Baraga:


It was peaceful back there.  Restful.   It was Sunday,  a time to slow down a little.  I peeked inside the glass windows, then put my camera up to the glass:


Accidently left my flash on,   but you can see a nice stained glass window telling a little of his story, and there, by the other stained glass window,  is the place where his body has been respectfully laid.    There are kneeling benches in front,  in case you’d like to linger, and think, and thank. . .  .

I didn’t enter into the cathedral by those big front doors.  I chose the modern entrance.


Garden.  Nicely done.

When I finally got inside,  my thoughts came to a stop.    SAMSUNGIt was dark inside, but very beautiful.

It was time to experience the presence of God.     And pray a little.    Me and God.

And it was time to wait.    I felt pretty happy.   This is what I came for.     To commune with God.    To receive the Son of God into myself as Jesus said to do it.      That was the reason for the fasting.    You don’t mix something important and holy with. . . .ham and eggs.     You know?    So you fast for a  while.   Until a bit afterwards.   “Man does not live by bread alone,”  Jesus said.   It’s a  “culinary road trip,”  but food is not always so important.

Other people were there.    We all waited in the beautiful church.   The beautiful dark church.

The lights never came on for us.    The clock went past the time that we were here for.     I said this was a beautiful but sad posting.    Ten minutes.  Twenty minutes.   A  half hour.   Oh, we were quiet and patient.   We read our Readings for the day, we read our missals, we prayed…. and some of us began to make a “spiritual communion” — it’s what you do when you can’t have the real physical communion.

Eventually, the people began leaving.

It was like we were fasting not only from physical food,  but from our spiritual food.

Some were sad and quiet, some were annoyed,  but none of us were really surprised.    We were going to worship in the way people worshiped here at the time of Bishop Baraga.  The same way our grandparents worshiped.  And their grandparents.  All the way back in time, the same way of worshiping,  all the way back to the first century after Christ.   But these beautiful cathedrals have been taken over now by people who worship another way.    They sometimes make room for what they used to be,  but sometimes . . .  things happen.    They’re not too particular.    They’ve abandoned what was.

SAMSUNGI looked up at a statue of St. Joseph, reminding us of his loving care for the child Jesus;  reminding us of all the good qualities he had that made him a good choice to be Foster Father of the child Messiah.   Patron saint of families.   Help of families.  Protector.   Provider.   Father.    What would he think of the Child he loved and cared for being abandoned today?

Then I saw the Mother:

SAMSUNG“Blessed is the fruit of your womb!”  her cousin cried out.  “And blessed are you among all women!”        And Mary understood:    “Behold, all generations shall call me blessed.”   And I understand a little too.  I understand that she was made especially to carry the Incarnate Son of God.   A privilege, a joy, a piercing sorrow.     How sorrowful would she be today to see her Son abandoned by a different sort of generation.

It was not a “lost” day,  though.

A little boy came up to me, next to his parents.     He was about six years old.   He looked like he was trying to be mad.      He said to me, “We drove all morning to get here and then there is nothing!   I wanted to see Jesus!”    I looked at his parents.    They said it was a 3 1/2 hour drive to get there that morning.   (Yes,  there are great distances between places in the Far Far North.)

I told the little boy that it was okay.   “Jesus knows you came here and you tried.”        The little boy brightened up and said, “Oh yeah!   He can see me!”    He went away,  happily, to watch his mom take photos of the interior of the cathedral.

Sad, indeed.   Disappointing.    But all was not “lost.”    We hadn’t fasted for nothing.



August 9, 2014

Well, the road trip went pretty well,  but the culinary part was difficult.    There was just not enough time or appetite in these last few days.     So — what do you do when you don’t feel like visiting too many restaurants?    You enjoy  the ones you do go to.   Like “Sweet Basil”  on Third Street in Marquette, a little city on the shores of Lake Superior.

SAMSUNG  It was a sunny, pretty day, and the outside of this little place looked charming and cozy.     Inside,  there was a very full menu board:


I only caught part of it with my camera.    Imagine writing out that whole thing every day!!    I asked;  and, no,  they do not serve the same thing every day.   It just depends on what they feel like cooking.  It was easier to  look at the food than to read about the food:

SAMSUNG  I zeroed in on the quiche for a meal later   —



— And some soup and some basil lemonade for the present time.    Lemonade — with basil in it.  What else?  I am in the “Sweet Basil.”


The basil lemonade was very good  –  couldn’t taste much basil, which might be a good thing,   but the whole drink had a refreshing quality to it.   The vegetable beef soup was certainly homemade with thick chunks of beef and vegetables.  Almost like I make at home.

As I sat there eating and reading and eating, writing, reading, and eating . . ..  I looked down at the floor.   Hmmmm.     Old wooden floors.   A charming touch, maybe.    Or maybe just an old building.     I looked beyond the counter and into the kitchen.    Wooden floors.    Really well-used wooden floors.   But I didn’t mind.  It may not be squeaky clean back there,  but that’s because they were busy cooking up really good food in not much space.    I took that as a good sign.


SAMSUNG  I also had time to read the bulletin board.  It looked busy too, like a really well-used local information center.   All the notices were up to date and gave me a hint about the regular customers:   biking, swimming, art shows, dancing,  music, theater.     Kind of the “starving student” kind of life style.  We are not far from Northern Michigan University, and I know students need  a lot of good-tasting inexpensive food.     I know because I used to be one of them.


I passed up a lot of “better” restaurants on my trip.     Restaurants that were clean and modern,  nice seats, waitresses,  attractive menus.     Like “nice restaurants”  in many cities.   But it was “local flavor”  that I was interested in that day, and there’s no better place for local flavor than these really small places that offer just plain good food.



August 4, 2014

There is a culinary bonus to this Necessary Trip.     First you have to drive northward through beautiful northern roads, of course, like driving through giant park lands –

Pas Open Rd

And when you run out of land,  there is a Bridge to take you even  further North.   This is “the Bridge,”   the  Mighty Mac,  Big Mac,  the Mackinaw Bridge –

Pas On Bridge

Sparkling deep blue waters of the Straits,  looking out over the side —

Pas bridge side

—  not me, of course,  just my camera.   I was looking up !   —

Pas Bridge top lotsa time

The Bride is a real feat of human engineering.   Laying the foundation pillars in deep waters and getting the whole thing to stay up with suspension riggings.       It’s five miles long, so there’s plenty of time to do your sightseeing on the Bridge.

Coming off the Bridge, you’re in a different country, so to speak.   You’ve left the Far North and entered the Far Far North  —

Pas coming off

And the first thing you look for is — THIS –the first and (I think) best entry of the numerous pasty shops along the way, on US – 2.

Pas Sign

PASTIES!      Just so you’re sure,  a pasty is pronounced:  PAST – TEA.   (It’s not . . .  the other thing.)

“Suzy’s Pasties.”          It’s a cute little shop —

Pas Sign Shop

If you ever travel this way,   this is what it looks like;  you’ll want to stop here.

Inside is smoked fish,  jerkied fish,  northern berry jams and jellies, Mackinaw Island Fudge. . . and KETCHUP !

Pas Counter

Ketchup there on the counter –  an important accompaniment to pasties.   The main attraction —


Potatoes, some kind of beef,  onions,  should be rutabagaas in there, lots of salt and fats!,  packaged in a flaky delicious crust.   You can’t wait too long to break into the piping hot pasty and pour on the ketchup.   You can eat it with a fork or just pick up the whole thing in your hands and munch into it.    A picnic table works best,  but I can usually manage driving and eating a pasty at the same time.

In fact, once you have your pasty in hand,  it’s a beautiful drive along Lake Michigan —

Pas awayMmmmm –  munching a pasty next to a beautiful Lake shore.

And right here is the home of that little ‘gator that got away —   (Remember him a few posts ago?)     The Garlyn Zoo.    A roadside tourist zoo.

Pas zoo

But ‘gator wasn’t on the menu today.

Nothing else tastes quite like these pasties up here in the Far Far North.         I have my own recipe,  but I understand they have another way to get these little pasties into their shops:

Pas farming

And then, of course, for a more robust flavor,   they  work a little harder —

Pas Mining

Happy munching!!


August 3, 2014

Fish in store

I’m still on my Necessary Road Trip which I’m trying to make  into a “Culinary Road Trip” although I don’t have much appetite yet.    I’m a  bit emotional, still, because July 31st is still very much with me.  That is the date of Hubbie’s birthday.

(See November 2010 archives for his . . . ending.)

Son and Daughter share the same vague wordless unutterable sense of loss.    We do something for Hubbie on the date of his birthday each year.   You see, he loved our back yard pond and could always find something  in it to keep him busy.   Each year he added goldfish to the pond;  it’s a rather large pond so it was always fun to watch the tiny little fish explore what must seem like a vast new world.  Each Spring we eagerly look forward to the Count —  how many goldfish made it through the harsh winter!



So a couple days ago we went to our local pet store and chose a number of little goldfish,  the number that would match Hubbie’s age.

Then we  opened their little plastic “cocoon”   and got them used to the pond water for a while –  not exactly as clean as the pet store kept them,  but rich in food and whatever else goldfish like to swim in.  They always seem to thrive in the pond water.



We hold our breaths as the first most daring fish swim out of their bucket  —


It matters.    It’s for Hubbie.    We need this to be a success.

Eventually they all begin to swim out –



All done.   Many scattered far out in the pond.     Joyfully,  I like to think.   A few clung close to the shorelineSAMSUNG

Just like people.

Adventurous.     Home loving.

Eager to explore.   Content to stay close to familiar things.

Open to new ideas.    Comfortable with deeply experiencing  what you already know.


The pond is big enough for all the fish to be happy.    They’ll have all kinds of new neighbors:   other fish we don’t know the names of,  frogs,  snapping turtles, and – unfortunately –  the kingfishers and the blue herons.

“Meet some new neighbors-to-be”:


Know what this gloopy mess is?     Son poked  a stick into something interesting in  the weeds and came up with this jellied sticky stuff – looking a bit like green tapioca pudding!      (Sorry if you like tapioca pudding. . . .)      It’s frog eggs!   Many, many more frogs to come.    Night concerts!

Hubbie would have liked that.    His memory lives on, partially, now in all our new baby goldfish.   We’re going to care what happens to each one of them.